After recently travelling north for The Edinburgh Festival and then south for a Norfolk wedding, something strange has happened to me. Against the odds, I have inadvertently fallen hopelessly in love with the Scottish countryside. That one snuck up on me unexpectedly. I always thought it was nice in a, ‘Ooh look at the pretty view’ sort of way. I even liked it enough to move here. But the strange, passionate, all-consuming love affair type feelings didn’t kick in until I actually left my little Scottish retreat for a few days.

Volcanic love

I’ve always been a die-hard city girl and the move to Scotland was a huge leap of faith. Although the stint in Edinburgh city and fun weekend in the fens were certainly enjoyable, they had an odd effect on me (and not just because I drank my body weight in booze). Being away for a bit really made me appreciate what I have at home, and I’ve since gone and fallen madly in love with Scotland.

I could just sit and gaze lovingly at the hills all day long. I love the way the beautiful fields change colour hourly, and the trees hold stories in their leaves. I feel like I could spend a thousand years wandering through the woods and never get bored. I would even go out the back door and give the view a big fat hug if I could fit the fuck-off great big volcano in my arms. I must remember this next time I’m out of milk and can’t face the six-mile round trip cycle ride to the shops.

The upside to my newfound love affair is it makes enjoying country life that little bit easier. For the first few weeks I felt a bit lost and out of place. But I now have the urge to be outdoors all the time, lapping up the lovely country air (sunshine helps). This fits in quite nicely with my next goal, to master the art of forefoot running.

Scotland = sexy

I say forefoot as opposed to barefoot running because I have no desire to wear those funny finger toe shoes (they give me the willies) plus there’s way too much cow shit around here to actually run barefoot. My grandmother was a sprint champion in the 50s and my Dad was also a keen sprinter in his youth, and both advocated the forefoot running technique long before it became fashionable. Although I’m no sprinter, I’ve always liked the idea, but up until now it just seemed like one more thing to think about in a sea of obstacles trying to stop me getting out the door. If I just plod mindlessly without thinking or worrying, I can (or could, pre-injury) keep going for miles. The idea of focusing on form detracted from the fun of running. But then a few months ago I went and fucked my knee up and my attitude has since changed.

Although I’ve been doing bits and pieces in the hills, I haven’t had a decent run since May. (I’m almost at the spontaneous combustion/mass killing spree phase). It occurred to me that as I have to effectively start from scratch, now is also a great time to try out a whole new style. And frankly, my plodding method may have got me there eventually, but I was still erring on the side of tortoise.

As luck would have it, I still have a couple of pairs of minimal trainers from my days at Women’s Running magazine that I never got around to testing, so I’m well-equipped for my new venture. And curiously, despite a slow start, I’ve found the forefoot running technique certainly takes the pressure off the offending knee. It hurts my calves like hell afterwards and I feel like a daft fairy when I’m doing it, but we all have to start somewhere.

Running in six-inch leopard print platforms: bad idea

The bad news is despite being back on my feet I’m just not race ready, so I’ve had to drop out of The Great Scottish Run. I’m a bit gutted about this as it’s the anniversary run of my first date with Ultraboy, but there’s no point in irrevocably buggering up my knee for sentimental purposes, so I’m doing the sensible thing and dropping out.

Maybe he’ll take pity on me and whisk me off to Paris instead like he did for our second date (oh those halcyon days). But considering Ultraboy’s off to Chamonix this Friday to take on the TDS, I doubt it. 60-odd miles in The Alps will probably put him off France for life. Fortunately I have another lover to keep me occupied while he’s away, my beloved Scotland…

Forget groupies. There’s a new type of extreme girlfriending in town. Behold the rise of the ultra widow… Worried you might be one? Follow these tips to find out.

When your boyfriend nips out for a quick jog, he turns up 10 hours later with wolf shit in his hair and a strange faraway expression that suggests he’s either been freebasing crack in the bushes, or reached a higher plane of consciousness from running endlessly for 50 miles.

Nothing, I repeat nothing, comes between your boyfriend and race day. Birthday? Christening? Wedding anniversary? Funeral? Forget it. Running 100 miles in a 30-man race across wet fields with nothing to eat but nettles is far more important and will always come first.

Your boyfriend has more shoes than you do. Times 100.

You’ve forgotten what male toes look like and assume all men have black stumps for feet and their ankles are meant to be a strange greeny blue hue. You grow so used to his malformed rotting tootsies, that normal healthy feet start to look odd.

You don’t have a single glass in your kitchen cupboard. Not even a stray champagne flute. The entire house drinks out of designated plastic drip-free water bottles, designed for trekking through the desert. But you don’t really mind because this way, no one can tell how much gin you drink.

Your kitchen cupboard consists almost entirely of freeze-dried space food.

When your boyfriend offers to bonk you, he actually means starve you of food and drink for six hours while making you run endlessly round the block to build your tolerance for malnutrition.

When he actually does suggest sexy time, you call a babysitter, book the week off work, and invest in a vat of lube, because you’re in for the looong haul, with breaks for carbo loading.

To relax between races, on rest days your boyfriend runs 15 miles instead of 50. Or if he’s really winding down, he climbs a mountain, jumps out of a plane, or has a quick kayak down a gorge, leaving you to do the weekly food shop in peace.

Your laundry room, cupboards, wardrobes and drawers are stuffed with so much running gear, that you can tune in to Radio 4 off the static.

Your idea of a mini break involves sitting in a car in the Lake District in the pissing rain reading Heat magazine while your boyfriend drops off reconstituted rice pudding at designated mile markers for his mate Dave.

You discover that the only thing worse than an absent ultra runner, is an injured one. One week of a wounded ultra runner moaning about his sore foot and you’ll be begging him to bugger off to The Sahara.

You are seriously considering taking up ultra running and training for a gruelling 55-mile race which will probably leave you permanently damaged and put you off exercise for life, because you’ve been hypnotised by ultra voodoo magic and have come to believe ultra running is perfectly normal behaviour.